How To Save On Laundry Without Having To Steal Tide Detergent

Tide has become a hot commodity lately. Law enforcement officials from around the nation say there has been an outbreak of thefts of the pricey-but-well-regarded detergent. One guy allegedly stole $25,000 worth of Tide before Minnesota police nabbed him. Why? Tide can be pricey (up to $20 a bottle), and, well, it’s in high demand. But how can you save on detergent without resorting to buying black-market-Tide?

1) Buy Tide 2X Ultra for Cold Water. This tip will only work if you do your laundry at home, of course, but if you do, you can save $60 per year on heating costs by washing your duds in cold water. In addition to being a money saver, this detergent received the top rating in CR’s 2010 tests. It even beat non-cold water formulas.

2) Don’t use too much.You may think you aren’t wasting detergent, but it’s very likely that you are the victim of a confusing cap. Many people use twice the recommended amount, says Brian Sansoni, spokesman for the American Cleaning Institute, a trade group that includes detergent manufacturers. That could be due to poor cap design, a “more is better” philosophy, misreading the caps’ lines, or simply not reading directions. Using too much detergent not only wastes money but also can prolong the rinse cycle: Some washers keep going when the water is too sudsy.

3) Shop online or use coupons. Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program can have great deals and is super convenient. If you like going to the store, Tide’s manufacturer, P&G has an entire website dedicated to Tide and, if you’re willing to sign up for a newsletter, they’ll send you coupons. How on earth there could be enough news about Tide to warrant a newsletter is beyond us. If you’re looking to cash in on the fact that Tide is cool enough to steal now, the site even has some faux vintage “Tide” t-shirts you can buy (and $4 from the sale of each tee goes to help disaster victims.)

4) If you have a HE washer, try Gain. Ok, this isn’t advice about how to save on Tide. You caught us. Tide costs about $0.23 per load, but Gain Original Fresh HE , which performed well in Consumer Reports’* 2010 detergent ratings, cost only $0.06. Hey, it’s better than a life of crime, right?

*Consumerist is published by Consumer Reports.